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Yesterday’s third leg of the International NZ Silver Fern Marathon Rally was severely disrupted by the bad weather being experienced in the Central Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island.
Unseasonal snow caused two of the competitive stages today to be cancelled. The first the Nevis stage east of Queenstown was cancelled the night before when it was realised that the snow was falling on the road, and that the 28 river crossings that would need to be used could be flooded, making the road unsafe for competitors.
Then yesterday the Lake Onslow stage had to be cancelled as well, with the issue again safety when the emergency service crews required for the safe running of the stage could not get to their positions. The organisers first consideration is for the safety of the competitors, hence the longest stage of the rally became a touring section for the competitors.
Despite it being a touring section, the road conditions were so tricky, with the snow turning to ice, that last night's fifth placed driver, Stumpy Holmes, rolled his Ford Escort. He has had it towed to Dunedin, worked all night and has made the necessary repairs to have it ready to go again on Thursday.
With the special stage distance nearly halved for the day, the one long stage that was held, the 44km Mahinerangi – Waipori Gorge stage, claimed the Ford Escort of Don Rubie and Charlie MacFarquaher, when their car slid off the road and into the Waipori River. Both drivers managed to escape, but the car was almost completely submerged. It also has been recovered and the team will work all day today to get the water and electrics dried out so they can continue.
Dunedin rally fans were able to see the cars in the Whare Flat stage on the outskirts of the city last night.

Results after Leg Three:

1. Brian Stokes, Ford Escort RS Cosworth, 4h50m13s

2. Stig Blomqvist, Ford Escort RS1800, +4m41s

3. Garry Adcock, Triumph TR7 V8, +5m41s

4. Joe McAndrew, Honda Integra Type R, +8m49s

5. Jimmy McRae, Honda Integra Type R, +13m01s

Full results at: www.silverfernrally.co.nz

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